Your-Health-Matters_w-URL_HR-300x78The YourHealthMatters website got some nice press in the Enquirer this week. The most recent Patient Satisfaction survey completed in September shows improvement in patient access; read more below and click here to view the Enquirer coverage.

Selecting a primary care doctor can be a daunting task. A patient runs through a checklist of questions. What are the provider’s training and credentials? In which hospitals does the provider work? What do I do if I have an emergency or if I need medical help after-hours? Does the provider give advice over the phone for common medical problems? Can I contact my provider by e-mail? Does the office have electronic health records?

While the process can be overwhelming, the good news is that Greater Cincinnati area primary care practices are improving from 61 percent to 64 percent when it comes to access to care, according to the most recent survey results.

YourHealthMatters.org (YHM) allows patients to compare hospitals, primary-care practices, and patient-centered medical homes via a patient-minded online database. YHM conducts a 12-month random patient survey to determine how the systems score on certain quality measures, including access to care. “Getting Care When Needed” is a composite of questions measuring patient ease in making appointments and access to information about their health and health care when needed.

Data collected from Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2013 shows 61 percent of patients reported a positive experience trying to schedule an appointment or obtain answers from their primary care practice in a time frame that met their expectations. The collective scores increased to 64 percent between Oct. 1, 2013 and Sept. 30, 2014.

Dr. Barbara Tobias, Health Collaborative Medical Director

“What gets measured gets improved. Clearly these scores are a direct reflection of that,” said Dr. Barbara Tobias, Medical Director at the Health Collaborative. “Practices have the right strategies in place such as same day appointments, online scheduling, and email access to their doctors. I believe we will continue to see satisfaction scores improve as practices get better at execution,” she said.

Mercy Health Physicians – Harrison Internal Medicine saw an 18-point increase in satisfaction scores. Brenda Bridges, Practice Manager, attributes the results to adding time for same-day appointments over the last nine months. Additionally, Bridges says the scores likely reflect the practice’s newly concerted effort to communicate and educate patients about their care.

“We send out quarterly letters to our patients that follow their care plan and remind them how to follow up and make appointments,” said Bridges. “We want to make it very easy for them to know how to reach us,” she said.

UC Health Wyoming also saw a jump in patient satisfaction results with an increase of 17 points. The practice cites My Chart, the online portal for accessing personal health records, prescription refills, and scheduling appointments, as the reason for the improvement.

“When you give patients more options for communicating with their doctor, they feel more in control of their care,” said Jenny Schneider, Practice Manager for UC Health Wyoming. “We have seen an increase in patients using the tool and as a practice we are getting better at managing the effort,” she added.

Visit the resource library for information on how to make sure you’re getting the right care, when you need it.